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right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. gregg allman is a grammy- winning entertainer. the allman brothers started by playing mostly are in the covers
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but went on to complete their own hits. the new book about his life is called "my cross to bear." is an honor to have you on the program. why did you choose that title? >> it was not so much to the title of the song, but it is hard to name a hound dog, so i tried and tried. i was going to call it "beyond the thrill, and that did not seem to perk up too many years. -- ears, and people started
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throwing me a bunch of names, and that one came around, and it kind of grows on you. a name has to -- tavis: sit with you for a while. i ask that because this is a tough book to read in the sense there has been so many ups and downs in your life and your career about which you were very why "mybout, but i aske cross to bare,"because it seems you have had to bear so many crosses -- bare so many crosses. you have had serious of stand- downs' in this life of yours. >> yes, but -- serious ups and
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downs in this life of yours. >> yes, but i am still smiling. i just remember back to 1974. it seems like only the really good stuff comes to mind. i do not think of all the tragedies, the funerals. that just does not come to mind at all. i guess i am blessed that way. tavis: how do you not think about the death of your brother? how do you repress those thoughts about your brother? >> after he died, i thought i would never get over it. then i started thinking about him a little more than i was thinking about me. thing.a very selfish dai
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they say in the bible you are supposed to rejoice when people die and mourn when they are born, because it is one of the most painful at sea go through in life is being born, and dying -- i do not know, but i believe -- i do not know. you have got to have a name. >> i only go here because you talk about it in the book. you tell a painful story about the last conversation with your brother before he passed away. how painful was it to relive that story? >> not as much as it used to be. like i was saying, at first it
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was worse than a broken heart. he was not only my brother. he was my mentor. he was like a father figure. i came to the conclusion i probably leaned on him a little too much, and somehow i got it turned around, and now sometimes on stage, i can feel his presence so vividly that i am just waiting to hear a so low -- to hear him start into a solo. tavis: how did losing him so early in the event live -- how did that challenge you, how did that -- in the man's life, how
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did that challenge you, how did that shape europe? >> you never know how much you are leaning on someone until they die. utch, and i had to bite the bullet and pull up my bootstraps and start stepping. all the other guys in the band are wondering, what do we do now. everybody knew -- they did not know what the solution was, but they knew if we did not keep playing there was no telling what would happen. we were playing in 1970. i think we played 306 nights.
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people ask you all the time, how did you make it? how did you know when you made it. i am not sure what that is, but we just got around and played everywhere we could. we were in new orleans on saturday night. we would look for a park on sunday and go set up -- we had a collection of these extension cords. we would see if there were a couple of consuls who would let us plug in, and then we would have -- a couple of souls who would let us plug in, and we would have of them. tavis: you still love playing? >> yes, sir. tavis: you said a moment ago, i
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do not know what made it means. i assume you had to make it -- you had to know when you made it into the rock-and-roll hall of fame. >> that was such a good night, because i saw playback of its next day, -- playback of its next day, and i quit everything. tavis: the drugs? >> cigarettes, snorting, everything. tavis: all that you have been through, all the challenges and travails, clearly you have seen yourself in playback countless times, so why that particular play back as the impetus for you to get sober and clean? >> that is like going to see the
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grand wizard of oz. in my world hall of fame, we got in it so early, but they had just build it. the stipulation is you have to have a record for 25 years. it has to be a hit, too. tavis: that always helps. >> i thought, if you cannot snap out of it like this, we need to go home and talk, and this time
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i went to rehab. i hired a male nurse to come in and give me whatever i needed intravenously. i think it was two weeks. i vaguely remember. at first it was real rugged, and i wanted a cigarette so bad. coming off all that, i needed a cigarette. i am so glad i am not ashamed to those things anymore. -- chained to those things anymore. tavis: what is your sense of the allman brothers and this playlist you have given the world?
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>> i think it came on a whole different john ross -- different genre of music. we usually played black music, and i guess it just molded into a thing like that. tavis: what is fascinating when you say unapologetically you played black music, soul music, and that is what you did so well, but when you talk in the book about even though you are playing black music, you have a black drummer, and because of the presence of the black drummer, you caught for having a black drummer even though you were playing -- you caught hell for having a black rubber even though you were playing black music. they love the music.
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new -- for having of black -- a black drummer even though you were playing black music. >> we got in all kinds of trouble. i hate to name places. they said, we will serve you, but we are not going to serve that big n word. i was so embarrassed. i wanted to tell her, take that restaurant, and stick it -- we always said, do not worry about it. tavis: there is a wonderful quote in the back of the book. the music was so important, we just wanted to play. we just played all day. the only thing we wanted to do was to get our sound tighter and tighter. we played for each other. we played to each other.
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we played off each other, which was what the allman brothers were all about. we were like lewis and clark. we were musical adventurers, explorers, and one for all, and all for one. it is all about the music. the new book is called "my cross to bare." thank you for a rich musical legacy and thank you for coming on. >> certainly. tavis: pleased to welcome carole king on this program. her legendary career is the subject of the best selling memoir, "a natural woman." she is back with legendary demos, featuring never before heard recordings of many iconic songs. it is good to have you back on the program. >> thank you. >> when you hear your demos,
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what you think? >> it is difficult to evaluate my own stuff. when i hear it, i think, how did that young woman know how to do that salmon -- to do that? you can hear in every track the artists for whom the song was destined, and i am quite taken with that, but i am so far removed i do not feel a modest by saying i was marveling region when i was young, i did that. tavis: when you hear certain demos you wrote for other people, obviously, it is your stock. you can record it anytime you want, but you never say, i wish i held that one back? >> no, because it is always a pleasure when someone does record it. one of the fun things about --
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for example, "a natural woman" you hear my original version as presented to aretha and her producers, and i recorded it later. the title, there is a whole chapter about a natural woman, and there is no end because people keep recording it. tavis: you were very open, very courageous about your marriages, in particular, and one that was abusive, and maybe i have to spend more time going through the play list, but i am trying to figure out where that came out in the songwriting amazon -- in the song writing. did i miss something? >> i do not know, because the man that was abusive to me was rick, and i was kind of taken
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over. his personality took me over, and he influenced my songs, and i do not think i did my best work when i was with him. if it did come out, i cannot specify which songs. tavis: i had to go through my carole king corpus, because maybe the way it came out was not doing your best work. >> i think that is right. i was trying to speak for him in a lot of cases, and he wanted to be a star, and he is gone now. i do not think he was ever happy being here. the only reason i wrote about it, it was scary to write about it because it was a painful thing. i did it because i figured if
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there was one woman -- there are some men abuse as well, but if there is one woman who thinks it is her fault and she deserves to be treated that way, my message is you do not deserve to be treated that way. if it can happen to me, it can happen to you or to anyone. i had a support system. i had family, but i fell into it because that is how it works. tavis: you stayed. >> after you are stacked upside ahead, use today. i do not want to talk about it today because it is so complicated. in the book i outlined why people say. i used to say, i would never stay with a man like that, but i did.
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we do stay until we realize. tavis: if not released three your expression, which is songwriting, as you write about in the book, how did you navigate your way through it? >> it was more complicated, but navigating out of it, i came to a realization it was time to go, and i took my children and ran away, and while i was way region while i was away, he overdosed on to -- and while i was away, he overdosed on drugs. i finally realized it was detrimental. tavis: on to have your staff. -- to happier stuff. >> i do even have a part in the book about where to get help. >> you know i am a huge fan of yours and a huge fan of james taylor, and anywhere carole
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king and james taylor play, i am on the front row. you probably thought i was talking you guys you saw me so many times on tour. when i say james taylor, you think what? >> i think friend. i think a special connection musically i have not experience with a lot of people in the same way, and i describe this in the book in such a wonderful way. i put myself in the moment of playing with him for the first time, and it is the same when we come together again. after years we do not see each other, we might not speak, but here we are, and that is what happened on the "troubadour" tour and really at the troubadour club in 2007. >> i was there, too. >> you were there for everything. tavis: not for everything, but
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for this one i was. >> i treasure it. i treasure you were there. i treasure being part of the phenomenon. i have had a remarkable life. i seem to be in such great places. tavis: at the troubadour club, i am there to see you. i look to my right, and i am announcing, and the person next to me is bouncing, and it is jane fonda. you talk about gratitude. i was fascinated. you spend a whole chapter talking about gratitude, and you highlight a number of persons whose work, whose gift is the yanks -- whose gift is being expressed through their charity. it is strange, but i have never seen a book where someone spends a chapter talking about our attitude -- about gratitude and
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the work of others. >> they inspire us. paul newman, bono with his work to eliminate third world debt. just people committing themselves, people who take their fame and success and spend time working for a cause, and my cause -- there are a million great causes. because you work on is dear to my heart, eliminating poverty. i lived near the rockies, and i am uniquely qualified to see how my neighbors live and how it fits together as an ecosystem, and i found myself lobbying to protect the northern rockies, and i have made all of these friends in congress, on both sides of the aisle, people who care about the environment, and i love the work, because we have not gotten there yet, but needed
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all those people who really want to make a difference in that field is important to me. tavis: i am not going to give out your home address, but you spend a great deal of your time in idaho. about 33 years by my count. what has that space -- being away from the rat race, not being in new york, not being in l.a., what has the solitude done for your songwriting? >> i think it can only have made it better. i think i am stimulated to right by the turmoil of the city, by the confusion and problems, but i am also nearest by the solitude, the closest to the nature region the closeness to nature. people say, what does wilderness mean when you are starving? i get that, but i also does not
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mean to destroy the wilderness, because when you are not starving you are going to want a place to go and your kids and grandkids are going to want a place to go, so i see it as my responsibility to take care of the problems in the city, but to take care of the wilderness for future generations. we have to. tavis: the love you have given is boundless, and i am glad to have you on this program. this is so unfair to have our life so rich you cannot even scratched the surface. there is a book you can pick up. it is called "a natural woman, written by the one and only carole king. the timing of this is a beautiful thing. it is on the new york times best-seller list.
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i really do love this. i love you. >> i love you, sue. thank you for your work. i really appreciate you. tavis: it is a love fest. that is our show for tonight. i will see you next time on pbs. until then, thanks for watching, and keep the faith. ♪ something wrong, there is no denying ♪ ♪ one of those changes, or maybe we stop trying ♪ >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with jeremy irons on his latest film project. that is next time.
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we will see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: christmas eve shootings killed two firefighters in rochester, new york and a policeman and bystander in houston, texas. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the killings, coming ten days after the massacre at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut.
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